The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has called financial abuse in elders “the crime of the century,” due to its prevalence in the senior community. In San Diego, as in the rest of the country, seniors are often directly targeted for financial scams—frequently through telemarketing schemes—that prey upon the weaknesses of the elderly.
There are various types of financial and telemarketing schemes that target the elderly, including:
- Investment Schemes
- Lottery Scams
- Funeral Scams
- Telemarketing Schemes
In fact, telemarketing schemes are particularly prevalent among San Diego elders. Using the phone as a near-anonymous platform, schemers promise low-cost vitamins, wildly affordable vacation packages, and “free” prizes in order to solicit private information and money from their financial abuse victims.
So, why are San Diego seniors so often the target of financial abuse? There are a few reasons that may explain why seniors are so frequently taken advantage of by scammers, including:
- Elders may not have as sharp a memory as a younger target, which in turn may make seniors less reliable witnesses and more readily deceived marks.
- Financial abuse crimes against the elderly are extremely under-reported—perhaps because the victim is too embarrassed to report the abuse, or he/she is unaware of the resources available for San Diego elders.
- Seniors in San Diego have often spent a lifetime accumulating savings or a retirement fund; scammers take advantage of a senior’s financial nest egg.
- The elderly in San Diego may be more trusting, or less inclined to be rude to a forceful and insistent caller.
- Senior citizens with dementia are particularly susceptible to abusive financial schemes because they may be easily influenced by an aggressive, persuasive telemarketing scammer.
Although there may be nothing we can do to mitigate some of the risk factors when it comes to senior financial abuse in San Diego, it’s helpful to learn some preventative measures to stop telemarketing scams from victimizing you or a loved one:
- If you’re unfamiliar with a caller or their business, crosscheck the name of their company with the Better Business Bureau.
- Never send money in any form to cover supposedly “unpaid taxes,” or to claim a “free prize.” These are both common ways that telemarketing scammers trick the elderly into wiring cash or providing bank account information.
- Never give out personal or identifying information over the phone, via e-mail, or by mail. Information like your social security number, address, account numbers, or online passwords should never be shared with strangers, even if they attempt to bully you into sharing your private information.
- If you’re attempting to give to a charity, be sure to crosscheck the charity’s information to confirm they are legitimate, and that your money is going to the good cause for which it is intended.
- If you’re unsure about a potential scammer, talk to a loved one or a trusted authority that can help you do appropriate research and secure your privacy and finances.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of senior financial abuse in the San Diego area, you are not without legal options. At Walton Law, APC, our goal is to advocate on behalf of the San Diego senior community, to ensure that all rights and interests of the elderly are protected and served.
Walton Law, APC is a San Diego boutique law firm dedicated exclusively to representing injured victims and their families in the areas of personal injury, nursing home abuse and neglect, and financial elder abuse. We only represent people – not insurance companies – and take pride in our reputation for obtaining full and fair compensation for our clients while providing personalized client service. If you believe somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse in San Diego, CA, please call (866) 338-7079 for a free and confidential consultation.